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Imagine playing an Atari game with a smooth framerate that auto-saved often and had an overworld map like Metroid......
That game is VVVVVV.
VVVVVV is a 2D puzzle platform video game designed by Terry Cavanagh and scored by Magnus Pålsson. The game was built in Adobe Flash and released on January 11, 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. In VVVVVV, the player controls Captain Viridian, who is lost in an alternate dimension, in search of the missing members of his spaceship's crew. Instead of jumping, the player is able to control the direction of gravity, allowing Captain Viridian to flip between the floors and ceilings of the environment. The graphical style of VVVVVV is heavily influenced by the Commodore 64; similarly, the game's music is entirely chiptune. --Wikipedia
Super Meat Boy is a game so nice, I bought it twice. In the PC version, you can unlock a character named Captain Viridian, and as mentioned in the game description above, he's the gravity flipping star of VVVVVV. Of all the characters I unlocked in SMB (and I unlocked all of them), the Captain was the most compelling. Though he isn't the first of his kind, Captain Viridian is the first character I recall using the gravity shift mechanic. After completing Super Meat Boy on XBLA and Steam, playing VVVVVV seemed like the next logical step in my gaming journey. Yes, I have to mention that I completed Super Meat Boy twice - the "Golden god" achievement specifically states that I should brag! ;)
Entertaining. Despite being a one-trick pony, the game's environments are varied enough that the gameplay stays fresh. Some screens have the Pac-Man effect (walk off the right side of the screen and appear on the left side of the screen), others have a scrolling effect (keep moving up before you get hit by the spikes creeping below you), and others contain a puzzling maze of teleporters. The main levels are all connected by an overworld map, and there are plenty of extra areas to explore. For added replay value, the game contains unlockable game modes, including time trials and a flipped mode, which allows you to play the game again with the entire map flipped vertically. Collecting all the "shiny trinkets" unlocks a secret room which contains some new things as well, including something called the Super Gravitron, which I've heard is a lot of fun.
Challenging. VVVVVV is often trying, but not unforgiving. Nearly every room contains a checkpoint (some have multiple checkpoints), and it auto-saves at every large teleporter. The game contains 20 collectible "shiny trinkets", and most of them are easier to find than they are to get. I've managed to get all of them (the one found in the room, "Doing Things the Hard Way" is a real doozy!) If you're primarily a console gamer, the keyboard controls may seem intimidating at first, but I found myself adapting to them quickly. I'm sure it's possible to play with a gamepad, but I didn't find it to be a necessity.
Charming. Though the game's lo-fi graphics can feel a bit cold, its music helps give it a lot of personality (that and Viridian's smiling face - though he does frown sometimes, which is sad.) VVVVVV has some of the best chiptunes I've ever heard! The music is so addicting, I ended up purchasing the soundtrack from SoulEye's website. Even if you never play this game, you should definitely checkout the music, especially if you're into chiptunes.
If you're a fan of 2D puzzle platforming and/or retro-styled games, I highly recommend VVVVVV - I give it a 9.5/10. VVVVVV is available on Steam for $4.99, and can also be purchased here.